Newsletter #1905

I faced this dilemma at exactly the same time last year. Then it was the post-Agüeroooooooo edition, now it’s the post-Mancini edition. The dilemma is, how do you choose a running order for such emotional and heartfelt articles? How is one more worthy than the other?

My answer then, as it is today, is to play your articles out in the order they landed in my inbox. Thank you especially to those who have put finger to keyboard for the first time in many years for MCIVTA.

These past couple of days have, even by City’s standards, been amongst the most emotional in our history. The removal of a much-loved and astonishingly successful street-fighter of a manager, to be replaced (so it seems) by a civil Civil Engineer.

I’ve formed a view that our owners have been balanced, progressive and genuinely fan-focused since they arrived. What we have seen take place in the development of our club is (and this is a considered view) unique in world football.

The argument to replace a destructive, conflict-led, youth-ignoring manager with a holistic (ignore the rubbish about this word in the media) progressive, self-sustaining youth-led consistent football model based upon attacking fluent, elegant football is a no-brainer.

To remove the most impactful, successful, dynamic, passionate street footballer for the winner of the InterToto Cup is the exact and equal opposite.

I have an affection for Mancini, for all his foibles, more than any other boss in my short (ahem) lifetime. To see him walking forlornly across the Royal Box is a memory that will live long. It was a very sad moment.

There is a genuine and realistic possibility we will rue the day.

There is also a genuine and realistic possibility that the club is putting into place the foundations for continued, sustained and non-personality dependent success.

May the gods of Wembley May ’99 and Etihad May ’12 decree it is the latter that unfolds.

All that remains to say is, Roberto, if you by chance are reading this, from the 4,000+ readers of MCIVTA, Thank you so very, very much.

Next Game: Norwich City, Etihad Stadium, 19 May 2013, 16.00


Mancini’s time was up. I’m disappointed, but accept the owner’s decision. As fans we have to, we’re not party to everything that goes on at our football club.

I’m really grateful to the owners for the success we’ve enjoyed over the past few years. However, I’m hugely disappointed at the way they’ve handled the whole affair.

I arrived at Wembley on Saturday and the place was awash with rumours and unrest. I watched in horror as an unsettled side underperformed and so be denied of our third major honour in as many years. It needn’t have been that way. Look at that lot – when Taggart announced his intention to retire a few years back, their form slumped.

Like it or not footballers, like all of us, work better within a stable environment. Uncertainty isn’t good for anybody. Look at the way they handled his retirement this time – almost seamless. Well thought out and executed. As painful as it is to say it, we need to learn from that.

The club should have been a lot cuter in the way they operated. The blame for Saturday’s loss, and our miserable journey home, lays firmly with them.

I’m sure they will do better.

Mark Ash <mash1966(at)>


I’m not surprised, just thoroughly disappointed.

Such is the way with modern football. Hero one minute, thrown out with the trash the next. Over the last few days, ever since the rumours aired on the morning of the Cup Final, I’ve been bracing myself for the inevitable announcement of the sacking of Roberto Mancini. I thought I’d be more angry. In reality I’m just very, very worried…

No one can deny that the investment of millions of Abu Dhabi oil money has been an absolute God-send for the club. The vast wealth invested by Sheikh Mansour has brought status and bought silverware and for that I will forever be grateful. I use those terms quite deliberately – let clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Leeds accuse us buying success – I’d sooner be winning trophies than talking incessantly about former glories. It’s a business-like approach from our owners that I have no qualms about.

What worries me is that part of this business-like approach is that we appear to be getting our choice of Director of Football consistently wrong. Garry Cook, although ambitious, always wanted to be centre of attention, drinking with players and generally putting his foot in it whenever a television camera came within 50 feet of him. Brian Marwood I attribute the lion’s-share of blame for this season’s forfeit of the League title – his handling of last summer’s transfer window was an absolute shambles.

Mancini clearly identified his targets: van Persie, De Rossi, Hazard, Agger and he failed to deliver any. Even more criminal was the release of both Adam Johnson and Nigel de Jong – both sorely missed this season for their game-changing abilities (albeit in different capacities). Replacing them with Sinclair and Garcia (I’m reserving judgement on Rodwell) has been a complete failure.

It is Begiristain who worries me the most.

Not particularly for anything he’s said or done. More for what he represents. In the wake of the Spanish national team and Barcelona winning almost everything on their radar in the last decade, there seems to be a mad clamber for “the Spanish method”. Whilst their youth systems and passing style are matched only by the Germans, I worry that this “Spanish method” will see the club hire-and-fire endless “coaches” season after season as we have seen Barcelona and Real Madrid do over the years. Whilst people would point out that both these clubs consistently win trophies, I would like to point out that the opposition in the Spanish league is comparable to the Scottish opposition to the Old Firm clubs (forced relegations aside!). For a club the size of City, without at least a decade of success to solidify a winning mentality, in a far more competitive League, this could spell trouble.

What is all the more galling is that the change comes at just the time when a bit of continuity with a young, hungry, successful manager is what we need – Mancini knows the Premier League. He knows the opposition. Yes, he has made mistakes. Yes, sometimes he underestimated mid-table teams away from home over the winter months. He will learn… or at least would have learnt until the axe fell. Hasn’t 26.5 years of trust and backing from a club just outside the city limits shown what it can do for a club?

Backing Mancini would have placed a lot more pressure on and sent out a noisy message to this year’s League winners when we lined up against them next season. Moyes will struggle, mark my words. At least in the short-term. Consistency on our part would have only increased this pressure as Mancini had worked out how to play (and beat) United.

As for replacements, I will reserve judgement. My biggest fear if it is to be Pellegrini is that he will turn out to be our Juande Ramos. Any high hopes for new managers disappeared sometime during the 33 day reign of Steve Coppell all those years ago.

As for Begiristain, I will say this. Fine, sack Mancini. Appoint a new coach – we’ll back him. Football fans are fickle creatures and we’ll soon be singing his name if he’s winning games, but in the wake of the Club’s statement tonight saying Mancini “had failed to achieve any of the club’s targets, with the exception of qualification for next season’s Champions’ League”, we will be setting our own targets:

If the new man fails to qualify beyond the Champions’ League group, fails to mount a more resolute challenge for the title (85 points minimum), fails to progress to the latter stages of at least one domestic cup competition, it’ll be your head we’ll want next summer!

As for Bobby Manc, grazie mille, Roberto. You’ll be much missed and forever loved!

Robert Springthorpe <robertspringthorpe(at)>


Just a brief comment about the self-inflicted catastrophe on the club.

I have waited a long time for someone to come along to revive this club’s ailing fortunes, just as I waited in the late 50s and early 60s for the arrival of people like Mercer/Allison.

Since 1972 (apart from a brief spell in 76-77) this club has been lower than in the doldrums. We get someone at last who achieves something phenomenal (ok with the money provided by the owners) and we shoot ourselves in the foot again. Franny Lee can add a new chapter to his book ‘Cup for Cockups’.

I am disappointed in the way the news has come out, the lack of professionalism by the club, which gives the lie to their past statements about their intentions – and that concerns me for the future. I am also disappointed with some supporters who after just one year have shown that they have already forgotten what happened last year. How can they be so ungrateful, so disloyal to Mancini? They don’t know which side their bread is buttered on. I just hope that this change does work out for the best.

Graham Stephenson <graham_7979(at)>


Like Roberto, I thought there were ‘serious people’ in charge at our club.

The ‘trajectory’, a word they have used on occasion before, has been so positive since they arrived, and made me feel as a lifelong City supporter that at last there were people at the helm who, no matter how far removed from the supporters and how undemocratic in their decision making, nonetheless could be trusted to take our beloved club forward and away from the comedy years of ‘cups for cock-ups’.

My ‘adult’ years as a City supporter (i.e. when I had a season ticket and attended away matches too) began under Mel Machin, and at first the ‘trajectory’ was good, avoiding relegation under Kendall, and then two years in fifth place under Reid. Then along came John Maddock (Garry Cook in a previous life) to start the spiral downwards through Horton, Ball, Neal, Coppell, Hartford, and Clark, throughout which period I seemed to spend half my life outside the front of Maine Road shouting ‘What the f*** is going on?’

I contemplated, for a day or two, not renewing my season ticket for the Third Division when we finally slumped to our lowest, but I had the fight in me, as did so many of us at that time, to see the challenge through, and at least under Joe Royle things seemed to be stabilising behind the scenes as well as on the pitch.

Then it was off on another roller-coaster ride back up under Royle and Keegan, pausing only for some treading water under Pearce, when it became clear the club was financially in big trouble. Thaksin rode into town and installed Sven, and although I was again contemplating not renewing, because of the dodgy nature of our new owners, I had come to the realisation that I would still be supporting the club long after he, or anyone else, had come and gone – City are my club and why should I miss out on seeing any success when I had invested so much passion and love into the club.

Sven’s sacking angered me almost as much as Reid’s a decade or so earlier, but then came the new owners and, although we had the lame duck Hughes in charge, it seemed clear that the club was once again back on the right ‘trajectory’.

The subsequent investment into the team, the facilities and the youth development side, followed by the appointment (albeit badly handled) of Mancini made me feel at last that there were people at the helm who genuinely wanted to change the status of our club into a serious footballing force, and for that I have been prepared to suffer the increasingly outrageous and histrionic brickbats aimed at us by the media, UEFA and other elements of the footballing world as we became more and more successful under Roberto.

What happened yesterday has saddened and angered me even more than the sackings of Reid and Eriksson because we had, at last, a manager who had won things, won things with us, shifted the balance of power away from our closest rivals, presented a genuine challenge to them and the rest of the Premier League for the foreseeable future. Having ‘caught up’ with their spending in the last few years before FFP would stop us doing so.

Although I hate to use Fergie as an example, he is the yardstick of success in the English leagues because on the continent even two years is considered a long time as a football manager or coach. In his first three and a half years at Owed Trafford he won nothing, in an era that was considerably less pressured than today, yet he was allowed to continue in his job, and we all know the result.

In his first three and a half years, Mancini turned a mid-table side that had flirted with the bottom half of the table under Hughes into a side that within a year and a half had won the FA Cup and secured CL football, then won the Premier League and the Community Shield and got to another FA Cup Final and another year of CL qualification.

Just as with Hughes, he was considered as having not met the required ‘targets’, but just what were these targets? I know we didn’t do well in the CL in successively the two hardest groups, but Manure have not done much better in some of the easiest groups in recent years, so what exactly is our ‘trajectory’ supposed to be?

Were we supposed to win the CL this year, and the next year win everything? What then – start an interplanetary footballing competition?

Obviously there is a lot of bad advice circulating in football, because it is essentially a very simple game that is overcomplicated by those who don’t understand it. A lot is down to confidence and charisma, and just as Fergie had it for that lot, so did Roberto for us. If you’re even vaguely superstitious, MANCIni was to MAN CIty what ARSENe Wenger was to ARSENal – just think about it!

Seriously, it is significant how much Roberto got under Fergie’s skin, because none of our other managers ever managed that, and it is unlikely we will ever lord it over them again in the Trafford Dog Bowl as much as we have these last two years.

I don’t know if Pellegrini is the replacement chosen, because we no longer have a transparent club in touch with its supporters, but if it is we have to ask who is in control of the football making decisions. Just as Roberto was undermined by the club’s failure to get van Persie, Hazard and Hernandez last summer, it appears that whoever the new manager, it will be Begiristain choosing the players and the formation, which is not a system that has ever worked well in England.

In comparison to Mancini’s record of the highest pedigree in Italy and England, Pellegrini has won nothing outside of South America, is probably not a lot different to a David Moyes, and we will soon see how spectacularly the wheels will be coming off their bus. We have missed our golden opportunity to take advantage of the changing of the guard at The Swamp, and instead, as Danny Tiatto has rightly said, we now have a potential circus as we become the new Chelsea.

At best, if we buy players this summer of the calibre of Bale, Falcao, Cavani etc. then the new man has every prospect of finishing in the top three because it will take him time to adapt to English football and it would be unrealistic to expect him to win the League in his first season (after all, he is the man Madrid sacked to replace with the proven winning pedigree of Jose Mourinho). That may not be enough to meet our owner’s targets though, so we may start the Chelsea-style management merry-go-round.

At worst, which is unfortunately how I am seeing things at the moment, we will probably see the back of high earners such as Tévez, Dzeko, and Nasri as the club looks to balance books, and with a similar influx of average players to the ones we bought last summer, we will quickly become a mid-table side, and once we miss out on Champions’ League football then we will also lose Yaya, Silva, Agüero, Kompany and possibly one or two others too. Then, we will be facing an unstoppable decline that will make that of Leeds United look dignified.

Last night I slept very little as I was so angry at what has happened, and have again considered whether to renew my ticket. I probably shall for the reasons I mentioned before, but I don’t know if I have the energy left to stand outside the main entrance at Eastlands chanting my disapproval again.

All I know is that the comedy club have returned, but the people running it aren’t funny.

Grazi Roberto – in Mancini I trusted.

P.S. One other thing, is it even slightly cynical of me to think that Roberto’s sacking was leaked before the FA Cup Final with the intention of undermining him and the team to prevent him winning the Cup, which would have given them even less justification to sack him? Having watched City master Chelsea in the semi-final where Clichy and Zabaleta in particular put their bodies on the line to stop Chelsea attacks down the wings, how is it that these two players, as well as some other key players, performed so miserably against Wigan? They looked like a team that had just found out they would no longer have a manager, pretty much the same way they performed against Sunderland in Hughes’s last game. Just saying…

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


Well the embarrassing 72 hours are over with, Roberto Mancini has gone but we shall all share his memories forever.

Yes, I always have been a Mancini fan, but because I am a Manchester City fan, I will give my support to the next manager of City. Of course it can be made easier if it is the special one Jose Mourinho.

It will be very difficult for me to say “In Pellegrini I trust”. I doubt that I can ever say that, sorry but never.

At the end of the day, even right now many of us feel pain, but there is no one ever bigger than Manchester City. Despite what has happened to Mancini, I still say Thank You to the owner, without him we would never have had Mancini or the success, again Thank You.

We must now move on, for we are City!


Just heard that Manuel Pellegrini has signed a two year deal with City.

Now is no time for us to keep looking back over our shoulder, just cherish the great memories Mancini has left us, Thank You Roberto!

Whatever our thoughts about Pellegrini, be they good, bad or indifferent, we all have to give him a fresh start and hope that he will do well for City.

Pellegrini will more than likely have some different ideas than Mancini so we have got to move forward together as City. Let us not start with any negatives, a clean start for everyone is a must.

Good luck to the new manager Pellegrini, it’s a new era in the history of our proud club.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


It is a while since I last wrote to MCIVTA though I have continued to read and enjoy the contributions of others. I write now with a sense of déjà vu, a feeling that we may once again have pressed the self-destruct button and that our apogee was just twelve months ago. City have never dominated English football for long periods in the way that Arsenal, Liverpool and our quiet neighbours have.

The Mercer / Allison combo seemed to have laid the foundation for City to have a decade or so at the top but Mercer was ousted and eventually this led to 40 years as underdogs. Last year we seemed to have the same potential but realistically Ferguson was never going to let us win a second year – by hook or by crook he would see to that. I don’t think any English club would have finished in the top two of our Champions’ League Group though we should have been ahead of Ajax. Might we have won the Cup if Mancini hadn’t been undermined by Txiki Begiristain’s very public meeting with Pellegrini’s agent? Indeed, was it part of the plan to sacrifice the FA Cup to make it easier to get rid of Mancini? We may never know. (ED – I sincerely hope this isn’t true)

Apart from odd displays (like against Southampton), the biggest disappointment of the “Mancini years” has been youth development; not so long ago we had arguably the best Academy in the land and the record of “graduates” who have gone into first class football is still impressive. Like Chelsea before us, there seems no outlet for our youngsters in the City team. Until the recent cull, many of the Academy staff can take credit for the earlier success and it is difficult to see what has gone wrong.

Will that change under Begiristain, Soriano and maybe Pellegrini? We must hope so.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


I almost wrote something a few months ago about Roberto Mancini but decided against.

I have become sick of the negative press surrounding the club with the endless fallings out between the manager and the players. I can understand anyone falling out with Tévez but Hart, Kompany, Nasri, Richards?

While Mancini may have a point that players should be responsible for their own performance, it can’t help any employee to feel unloved and it serves no purpose to give the Red-biased media fuel to serve up another anti-City story. Mancini’s bleating about not getting the players he wanted last year was also tiresome and could have done nothing for the feelings and performances of the players that we did sign.

It is Mancini’s fault that he has gone, in slating other employees and, by association, the Board for not getting players in he was playing a high risk game. Surely any employer will only back a volatile manager for as long as the results dictate that they have to and this season has not been good enough to justify sticking with him.

As a City supporter, this season has taken some of the joy of watching football away from me. Not because we haven’t won anything, we’re all used to that, but every discussion I have about City in the pub or at work I’m defending something that someone at the club has done or is doing. The players have looked half-bothered a lot of the time and there has almost been an atmosphere of anger and discontent hanging around the club.

Mancini has done a lot of good things, some of which the pundits have forgotten. I remember every pundit, journalist, commentator laughing at how clueless Mancini was for buying one of the world’s best defensive midfielders (Yaya) and playing him behind the front two. I remember him starting with just Tévez up front against Stoke in his first game and everyone saying that you can’t play without a ‘big man’ up front. He signed Silva and Agüero, two of the finest players to ever pull on a City shirt and some of the football last season was incredible. There are far more positives but I suppose one of the tricks in business it to spot when you’re on a downward curve and work out what needs to be done to arrest that curve. I think Mancini’s demands to just buy whoever has been the best player during the current season is a little simplistic.

The media’s slating of City for the manner in which they’ve dismissed Mancini is, as usual, completely unjustified. If they’d dismissed Mancini with no manager lined up the headlines would be about how amateur a multi-million pound company must be to part with such a figurehead without a replacement lined up. It is not City’s fault that the media leaked the story on the morning of the Cup Final, they have probably known for a while but as usual with City stories, wait until a big game like a derby or a cup final to fire the bullet.

What were City to respond with? ‘Yes it’s true we’re firing Mancini now and Brian Kidd will lead us to FA Cup glory’? Perhaps the media think we should have offered him assurances that he would stay and then fire him at the end of the season? I hope all City fans will take media stories with a pinch of salt and perhaps count the sheer number of anti-City stories printed ahead of the derby at OT this year.

I’d really like City to go for Ajax manager Frank de Boer, a team man who has played at the highest level, is young at 43, has managed Ajax to three successive titles, nurtured a highly successful youth policy, has publicly stated his desire to manage City and also helps out in his wife’s flower shop. I’d like a manager that doesn’t constantly cause arguments and could unite the staff and players and work to a cohesive long term plan to get City’s academy up and running (have you noticed our dismal performance at youth level of late?).

We need a manager who wants to be at the club, will immerse themselves in all things City and stay for a long time. Pellegrini at 59 and with little of note in the trophy cabinet is just not the sort of person I can imagine creating a dynasty.

P.S.: Did anyone else hear Ronnie Irani on TalkS**** mentioning Brendan Rogers as a possible City target this morning?

Andrew Paton <andrew.paton(at)>


I haven’t written to MCIVTA for a few years now but the indignation being shown by fans at the dismissal of Roberto Mancini has compelled me to redress the balance. First of all, I don’t think Mancini did a bad job but he didn’t do a great job, which is what is demanded now by the current owners with totally different aspirations than City owners of old. Continuity is fine if you have the correct man in place to begin with. City didn’t.

We lost the league this season due to too many games being drawn which, with more enterprise and commitment going forward could have been won.

Often the whole first half of these games was wasted with low tempo tippy tappy possession football in front of a comfortable opposition defence and by the time we endeavoured to try to win these games it was too late. On top of this, the Champions’ League campaign was more of an embarrassment than an adventure. Just when you think it can’t get worse than the Dortmund débâcle we get a lesson in how to play the game by Ajax. I’ll always wonder how we got a draw out of the Dortmund game in front of our own fans and my main recollection of the Ajax match is Ruud Gullit having a laugh at our tactics in the Sky Sports studio.

The FA Cup Final against Wigan was just another game like Dortmund, Ajax, Southampton, Everton and Tottenham where a decent plan B was required to counter superior tactics by our opponents and none was forthcoming. Tévez, Agüero, Nasri and Silva getting in each other’s way up front is down to team tactics and they’re down to the manager. Mancini team tactics have never suited Dzeko. Hopefully we’ll get a manager who can get the best out of him.

As regards the new man, I am really hoping it’s Pellegrini. He didn’t win La Liga in his one season in charge of Real Madrid but he was right on the tail of the best Barça team of all time and with all his other clubs the results have been admirable. Generally in adverse circumstances where his clubs have been punching above their weight.

CTID and hopefully beyond, Jim Egan <jegan(at)>


For Mancini not to get a send-off from the Club and fans at the Norwich match for what he has done for us is an utter travesty that the hierarchy need to take a long, hard look at themselves over.

Whilst we will of course support whoever replaces Roberto, this is a shameful way to treat someone who has turned this club into a competitive force capable of challenging for silverware for years to come at long last.

All the best Roberto and thanks for May 13, 2012 a memory that will linger long!

Chris Loveridge, Napier, NZ <hawkeye11(at)>


A few days on from the FA Cup Final, I am still struggling to come to terms with what I witnessed on Saturday and in the aftermath this week.

Firstly though congratulations to Wigan, they played with passion and commitment and took their chance – with better finishing they could have been out of sight long before the 90th minute – and they deserved their win. Hopefully they can keep the performance level up and avoid relegation.

City on the other hand never got into the match and always looked second best. Wigan were sharper, quicker and more incisive and looked like they wanted to win far more than City. If the FA Cup final and a salary in excess of £100,000 a week cannot motivate a player what can? This is not an isolated occurrence, too many matches slipped away because the team didn’t perform, couldn’t get an early breakthrough, ran out of ideas and conceded a sloppy late goal.

Rumours that Roberto Mancini was about to be sacked cannot have been helpful and the Etihad hierarchy, refusing to issue a denial, only caused more speculation that Mancini’s days were numbered. All of this must have made for an uncomfortable atmosphere in and around the squad before, during and after the Cup Final. That the story was allowed to run in the first place, and not challenged, on the eve of such an important game is disturbing, but understandable in the light of subsequent events.

As it turns out an official denial was impossible because Mancini was about to be shown the door, but does Manuel Pelligrini offer the possibility of more immediate success?

It seems unlikely given his experience and track record. There have been well publicised concerns about Mancini’s management style and his tactical awareness. Most of us would have been happier if he had just picked a team and formation and left them be, rather than constantly tinkering with both. Now we are promised entertaining, attacking football and a 4-3-3 formation from the latest occupant of the Manager’s office.

Roberto Mancini has become the second City manager in a row to discover his fate via the media, rather than from his employer, and be ushered shamefully out of the back door as his successor arrives at the front – ironically on the anniversary of last year’s glorious title victory – Mark Hughes has a good idea how he feels I am sure.

For myself, Roberto Mancini leaves with warm good wishes for some of my best experiences as a City fan for many years: the FA Cup, Premier League title, Charity Shield and a 6-1 drubbing of United is not a bad legacy! I suspect he will not be out of work for long.

We may be the richest club in the world, with a roster of expensively-assembled talent, but with the revolving door on the Manager’s office and the erratic performances on the pitch we are still the same old City! Still, there is always next season…

Neal Barton <nealbarton(at)>


The King right now is Brian Kidd, who did a grand job to get that performance from the boys last night at Reading. If City want Pellegrini as the next King, they had better get their skates on as Barça are now on the case, because of Tito’s health problems.

I’m feeling much better about things after digesting all that’s gone on, new info and thinking it all through. Plus the performance last night.

I still feel that the media and betting odds stuff that surfaced Saturday morning led to the poor performance of City and the enhanced Wigan display, but I’ve changed my mind about who should get the blame. Mancini saw the writing on the wall, knew his time was up, decided to attempt to bring the situation to the boil while Khaldoon was here, get them to sack him now with his severance pay agreed and get out of the place pronto.

Otherwise, if he’d toe’d the line it would have meant he’d be in place till this Sunday, then off to the States, then the “Performance Analysis” in Abu Dhabi (which he knew the outcome of), meaning he’d get to Sardinia sometime in mid-June.

He’s probably got his next appointment already agreed anyway.

That explains the unprompted long explanation to the media last Friday about his sacking at Inter Milan. It explains him chancing his arm with the long interview with the press late Saturday complaining about the Board and Vicky Kloss not putting out a statement etc. He went just far enough not to let it affect his contract obligations, yet still forcing the hand of the Board.

He couldn’t have been certain that it would evolve as it has, but he had decided it was worth the chance and it’s all worked out perfectly. He must have had the conversations with Ferran, Txiki and later with Khaldoon, about Pellegrini and the contact with Benitez’s agent. He drew the right conclusion.

I always remember something Sven said about him when City signed him,about how Mancini always tried to be involved running everything, evenas a player. How he always tried to be in control of every aspect of thesquad and the comment by Garry Cook on Sky last Saturday morning, thathis incredible competitiveness sometimes created unnecessary situations.

Fergie commented about the number of City managers whilst he’d been in place for 26 years: “I wish it had been 14”. Meaning Fergie recognised a kindred spirit. Dictatorial, bombastic, defensive, obsessed and ruthless.

Mancini wanted to control everything and realised that if he lost the power struggle, he would have to be subservient to Ferran and Txiki. When he established to himself that the Pellegrini stuff was a fact, he did what he felt he had to do.

Now, on a light hearted note, there’s a report in today’s Mundo Deportivo by someone called Jaume Comas, that Barça are going to bid to sign Edin Dzeko this summer.

Sorry Jaume, but Edin’s idea of Tiki Taka is not quite the same as Messi, Iniesta and Xavi’s.

City Till I Die, Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)>


I have no axe to grind with Roberto Mancini. He did pretty well with the squad he was given/assembled. However, the more I think about it, the more I can see why the management at the club would want to look for someone else. I don’t know what was in the end of season review they brought forward this week but I would hazard a guess that it contained something like this:

  1. Questionable organisation. The team has consistently looked less thanthe sum of the parts. If you look at Ferguson’s sides as an example, therecent ones especially seem to be more than the sum of the parts. If you puttogether a Manchester 11 you would probably end up with 7-8 City players inthe side but United will have won the league by at least 10 points. Also,there is no plan B should the slow-slow-quick-quick-slow approach play notpay off. We did have a plan A-and-a-half but we sold him to Sunderland. And,no, throwing Dzeko on with 3 minutes to go on Saturday is not a plan B. Iknow that we have had difficult groups in the Champions’ League but, apartfrom 45 minutes at the Bernabéu we have looked out of our depth tactically.
  2. He plays favourites. The most obvious example of this is Mario. IfJames Milner had behaved the way Mario did he would have been sold lastsummer. This also applies to playing players who are out of form. When wewere playing well in January, winning 5 matches on the bounce, he droppedMilner and brought back Nasri against QPR and we drew 0-0. Conversely,when he made a move to make the first substitution on Saturday, I knew itwould be Nasri who came off. Nasri has been on better form over the pastfew matches while David Silva was playing poorly (for him). Nasri has moreof a goal threat and ran a lot of the West Brom game until he came offthat day and he had also had a couple of goal efforts in the cup final,so why substitute him? Even though Touré and Silva were both strugglingit was Nasri and Tévez who came off.
  3. There is no sign of him learning. One reason why we could not keep up withUnited is that we lost to Sunderland 1-0 away again, we surrendered toEverton tamely again, we really struggled against any team that pressedus (Dortmund, Napoli, Southampton away this season, Wigan at home thisseason and against Wigan at Wembley to name but a few). We have struggledagainst sides who park the bus (see “no plan B” above). We had two purplepatches last season – one at the start and one at the end. In the interim,a 5-point advantage became an 8-point deficit.
  4. Psychology problems. We seem to do OK when we have the psychology ofthe underdog (United in the 2011 cup semi, playing one of our bogey teamsin the 2011 cup final, going to Old Trafford last season, Real Madridaway). However, too many times when we needed the psychology of winnerse.g. QPR at home last season, this season’s cup final, Reading at homethis season, QPR away this season, we have not imposed ourselves on games.
  5. Man management. He seems to struggle with some aspects of manmanagement. His public criticism of some players has been noted. From theoutside he seemed to have a slightly aloof and autocratic style with theplayers, which may have been OK in the good times but is not going to gelplayers in the bad times. And before anyone mentions the old autocrat fromUnited, he had been in place for years, running the club his way and seemsto have had more run-ins with players recently (or is it just Rooney?).

In summary, although he won two major trophies, I can’t help feeling that he under-achieved compared to what he could have done. When Mark Hughes was sacked there was talk of the trajectory of the club not going in the right direction. This season the trajectory has been flat and I believe that it is this which was the main sign to the club hierarchy that he may not be the right person for the job.

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


I wrote earlier in the week expressing my views on Mancini; since then there have been more changes.

It’s very telling that all the support staff have been given their P45s except for Platt who has walked and Brian Kidd. This includes the non-English speaking defensive coach who many hold responsible for the cock-ups around “three at the back” defending. If Wigan can do it, why can’t we? There also seem to be changes afoot at Academy level.

The owners state a desire to build through the Academy and produce players. They are backing that desire with a vast investment in the new campus.

The performances of the u21 and u18 teams this year have been abysmal. We have paid big money for some of our youngsters: Suarez, Nimely, Rekik, Helan, Pozo and Lopes come to mind. Both age group teams failed miserably in the first stages of their competitions and ended up in the lowest group for the second stage. where they finished fifth and third out of 7 teams. The NextGen trophy was another fiasco and the performance in the youth cup wasn’t too clever in losing to Derby.

The youth team results have never been the same since Jim Cassell was shunted off to Abu Dhabi when Hughes was in charge. His replacement, Sellars, was a crony of Hughes from Blackburn. Successive changes have not improved things.

One comment made by a Sky reporter was that Mancini had never set foot in the Platt Lane complex. I can’t believe this is true.

We have a group of players in their late teens and early twenties loaned out around Europe. Abdi Ibrahim seems to be attracting interest from some big UK clubs, and there’s Elabdellaoui, Abu and McGivern. I can’t believe that Ibrahim doesn’t offer more to the team than Garcia at a much lower salary and no transfer fee.

In the long term City will have to comply with the financial constraints of FFP. We’re also going to have to live with requirement to have home produced players in squads for both the Premier League and Europe.

Perhaps Mancini’s departure is more to do with the long term future of the Club rather than a short term reaction to a season of chronic underachievement throughout the club.

Roger Haigh <rogerhaigh(at)>


I note that Mark Halsey is due to referee City versus Norwich on Sunday – I hope City fans remember the City versus Gillingham 2nd Division play-off final and give him a terrific send off in what will be his last match.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


14 May 2013

Arsenal              4 - 1  Wigan Athletic      60,068
Reading              0 - 2  Manchester City     22,859

League table as at 13 May 2013

                        P / GD / Pts
 1 Manchester Utd      37 / 43 / 88 CLQ
 2 Manchester City     37 / 33 / 78 CLQ
 3 Chelsea             37 / 35 / 72 CLQ
 4 Arsenal             37 / 34 / 70
 5 Tottenham Hotspur   37 / 19 / 69
 6 Everton             37 / 16 / 63
 7 Liverpool           37 / 27 / 58
 8 West Bromwich Alb   37 / -4 / 48
 9 Swansea City        37 / -1 / 46 ELQ
10 West Ham Utd        37 /-10 / 43
11 Stoke City          37 /-11 / 41
12 Norwich City        37 /-18 / 41
13 Newcastle Utd       37 /-22 / 41
14 Southampton         37 /-11 / 40
15 Fulham              37 /-13 / 40
16 Aston Villa         37 /-22 / 40
17 Sunderland          37 /-12 / 39
18 Wigan Athletic      37 /-26 / 35 RELQ
19 Reading             37 /-28 / 28 R
20 QPR                 37 /-29 / 25 R

With thanks to Football 365

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